Before having children I knew it wasn’t going to be a walk in the park but I never realised how easy it is to have a stand-off and feel like you are getting nowhere until you wind up shouting and feeling awful for it.
One of the biggest button pushers for parents is getting a child to leave the house without a fuss. This is particularly difficult in the morning when we are trying to get them to nursery or school. We are on a deadline, we can’t miss that train or the morning meeting and our child runs off half dressed and crawls under the bed out of reach. We start off calm ‘out you come darling’, they ignore us or worse still, laugh. ‘It isn’t funny darling, I am going to be late for work’. We reach under the bed and they slither further away…. ‘GET OUT OF THERE NOW!’ Then the threats start ‘You can’t have the iPad’, ‘No ice cream for dinner’ ‘I will take your tractor away…’ and if that has no effect we might make a grab for them and stuff them screaming into their clothes. AAAaaaaaaggghhhhhh. What a horrible way to start the day.
So how can this be avoided?
Preparation, Preparation, Preparation…. For you and for your child to ensure a smooth exit and a happy start to the day.
Ok lets start with you:
This is a hard one but….
- Could you get up 30 minutes earlier (just for a while to get the good habits established at home)?
- Get EVERYTHING you need prepared the night before – clothes, work bag, train pass, school/nursery bags
For you and your child(ren) the night before:
- Get them to help you lay out the breakfast table – cereal, bowls, plates, jam etc (this helps them mentally prepare for the next day)
- Get them to help to choose and lay out exactly what they want to wear the following day
- Go over the routine by asking questions about what is expected in the morning ‘When we get up what do you need to do first?’ Then go over the whole routine in the same way by asking questions not by telling them. Why? Because when a child answers a question you know they have got it!
In the morning
You have got up extra early and are dressed and ready for your child. Make sure that they don’t have access to ANY screens until they have done everything that is required. I would go one step further and have NO screens in the morning but that might be a step too far for you. So everything has to come first before they get a screen. Interact with your child with a smile and lots of light questions.
- ‘What has to happen first? Hey I bet you can’t beat the timer!” Set a stopwatch on your phone as a game.
- Praise all the steps they take towards the goal of being dressed, fed and ready to go out the door.
- If they cry and complain, show empathy ‘I know, it is really hard to stop playing and get dressed’ or ‘You would rather stay here, I understand’ and then say ‘What happens today?’
- Make sure you avoid where possible any distractions (like phones and laptops) while you are getting your child ready to leave the house.
- Sing some songs, play some fun music.
- Keep breathing
- Talk about fun things you might be able to do at the end of the day – maybe a bubble bath, a tickle fight?
Try the new approach and you will be amazed how well it works.
This was brought to you by Camilla McGill, founder of My Parenting Solutions. You can follow Camilla on social media for handy tips and take a look at her website for more information or to book a private consultation package. Links to all platforms are below.